For those who hadn’t had enough of the Bolshoi Ballet during the week of its Swan Lake programs at the Music Center, the Sunday evening “after party” at the spacious Carson loft of artist, Alexey Steele, was a perfect way to wind down, but wind down in style. On hand were several Bolshoi Ballet company members, including corps de ballet dancer Olga Marchenkova and soloist, Denis Medvedev. The event, organized by Natalia Haldeman in partnership with Arsen Serobian of Dance Channel TV, was something of an old-fashioned salon affair complete with flower arrangements, a gallery of large scale art works by Steele, two brief sets of live music, and DJ, Matt Hill, spinning classics in the ballet music vein.
Kicking off the entertainment was jazz guitarist Eon Burchman who played a tasteful set of improvised standards from the American Songbook as well as works by Jobim. Following a break for the catered Russian cuisine by Crystal Restaurant vocalist, Elen Avanes and pianist, Marina Simonyan offered an informal set of Russian art songs for a crowd of more than one hundred enthusiastic dancers and emigrés from the local Russian community. Alexey Steele is no stranger to large gatherings in his comfortable and welcoming combination live-in work space. He hosts a regular series of classical chamber music concerts there during the year through his organization, Classical Underground. Steele, now a longtime California resident, is the son of the famed Soviet social realist artist, Leonid Mikhailovich Steele. Alexey’s large-scale work blends elements of American realism with an allegorical style tinted by Renaissance and Baroque masterworks. The mix is provocative and unexpected. You can visit his website High Art Forever at http://www.alexeysteele.com/
The lingua franca of the afternoon was, of course, Russian. Speaking with Denis Medvedev I learned he is also a designer and is anticipating opening a business making dance wear when he concludes his performing career. Ms. Marchekova speaking through an interpreter discussed her interest in ultimately dancing in New York, perhaps as a member of American Ballet Theater. Both expressed a lively interest in the U.S. and looked as if they had managed some time at the beach during their stay in Los Angeles.
Also busy at the event were Dance Channel TV interviewing and photographing dancers from the company as well as party goers. Look for video coverage and interviews on DCTV. Also contributing to the event were: The Tea Room social club, décor by Affairs to Remember, and flower arrangements by Liliya Lavinsky. It was a stylish end to a week of big dancing.